Dante Bender has been charged with capital murder for the killing of Meridian police officer Kennis Croom. Officer Croom was shot and killed in the line of duty, on what was supposed to be his day off.
Croom was the first officer to arrive at the scene of a domestic disturbance in the 2400 block of 51st Street in Meridian at around 5:30 p.m. last Thursday. It is unclear exactly how the events unfolded, but shots were fired, striking and killing both Officer Croom and the accused shooter’s fiancé, Brittany Jones. According to unconfirmed social media posts, Jones was pregnant when she was killed.
The alleged killer, 31-year-old Dante Bender, fled the scene before back-up arrived. A Blue Alert was issued for Bender and his vehicle Thursday evening and by 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Bender was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in Ackerman, Miss.
Bender was returned to Meridian to face charges for the slayings in Lauderdale County Justice Court, where officers placed him in their fallen brother’s handcuffs.
Chief Deborah Young called the murders “tragic and senseless” and expressed her condolences to the Croom family, saying the officer is the definition of a true hero.
“He lost his life doing what he loved. He was full of passion, joy and dedication,” Chief Young said. “Pray for the families, the Meridian Police Department and this community.”
The family of Officer Kennis Croom has established The Croom Foundation in his memory.
See a typo? Report it here.See a typo? Report it here.